(SPOILERS for Doctor Who Series 3-6, the works of Edward Eager, and Meet the Robinsons)
It has occurred to me recently that I don’t talk about books enough on this blog.
Considering that books were among my first loves, this oversight just won’t do. Of course, all types of stories are important, and I’ve talked about good old Harry Potter more than once. But there’s more than just Harry Potter on my bookshelf that deserves spotlighting!
So, like last week, I’m digging into my childhood to analyze an often overlooked favorite, in comparison to a pop culture phenomenon.
In the 1950s, dramatic writer and lyricist Edward Eager, having a difficult time finding books to read to his son, began writing children’s books in the style of E. Nesbit – stories about ordinary children who stumble on some kind of quirky magic (the first book, for example, involved magic that worked by halves – the children had to wish for twice as much of something if they wanted the wish to work completely) that they then use to go on fantastic adventures through space, time, and even literature, referencing everything from One Thousand and One Nights to Little Women. Along the way, the children typically learn to use the magic wisely, and resolve conflicts in their ordinary lives.
Eager’s tales of magic spanned seven books in all (the last published two years before his death in 1964), but he did not use the same cast of characters across all seven. At most, a given cast of children would span two books. However, the siblings of Half Magic (1954) & Magic by the Lake (1957) and the cousins of Knight’s Castle (1956) & The Time Garden (1958), are connected by more than just their writer.